AND THE WINNER IS…CW!
Thank, all, for playing!
Greetings, friends! So after my blog last week on using “woman” instead of “girl”, I had a discussion with fellow author Jax Meyer on the Twitterz about that, and Jax brought up a whole other layer that I realized needed to be addressed and I asked Jax if she would be willing to do that. And BOOM, she was.
So without further ado, here’s Jax.
Giveaway: 1 copy of Dal Segno for Kindle (or a pdf copy if the winner doesn’t use kindle format).
Y’all know how this works. Leave a comment below and we’ll hook a winner up next Friday, 21 September by 9 PM EDT US time.
When I read Andi Marquette’s post about the use of girl for grown women, it reminded me of another way in which internalized misogyny shows up in my life, and that’s with the word woman. That word is so loaded with gender expectations that for most of my life I didn’t use the word at all. I preferred the term female, which I now understand many women find dehumanizing.
Personally, I don’t recall hearing the term female much until I joined the Marine Crops. Then I became a female Marine, and I loved how the term female didn’t have the same expectations. Female is biology. I am biologically female, and I am not changing that, though no judgment to those who do. But calling me a woman feminized me in a way that wasn’t me.
You see, I’m obviously butch. I’ve been that way my entire life and feel it describes my gender expression well, though I’ll also use genderqueer and am fond of non-binary. Growing up this way in the 80’s and 90’s, and then serving in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era, the word woman grated on me to the point I didn’t even like to say the word. I had to ask myself why this was. And the answer is simple – internalized misogyny.
Gender roles, which are really what I resisted, are rooted in misogyny. The negativity and outright vitriol directed toward anything feminine has tainted words like woman to the point where I resisted it everywhere.
Strangely enough, one of the things that helped me overcome this and at least become comfortable referring to others as women was giving birth to my daughter. The decision to get pregnant instead of adopt took months of soul searching and research into other butches who have done the same thing. I had to face my fear of backlash and decide to embrace me and my way of being female in a world that isn’t always kind to butches and other masculine of center women.
My daughter is now three-and-a-half. When people ask some variation of how she came into the world, I answer, without hesitation, that I carried her. It always shocks them, which is why I answer the question. Even if I refer to myself as female, the world sees me as a woman. By defying stereotypes it expands the space available for women to exist.
Let’s be honest for a minute. Even within the lesbian and lesfic communities there is backlash towards the masculine of center. I’ve been told that books don’t sell as well with a true butch character. And don’t even try to write a book where two butches fall in love. Why is that? Could there be some internalized misogyny at play as well?
My hope is you read this and consider all the words you use to refer to people. Perhaps you resist referring to people with non-gendered pronouns. Where does that come from? Are you one of those people who doesn’t like to read about butch main characters? If so, I invite you to give my debut novel Dal Segno a try. The stereotype of a butch is often rather different from the reality of the many people living as masculine of center.
In the end, question yourself and your beliefs. We’ve all spent decades absorbing the beliefs of people around us, and even when we know better, some slip through and affect our actions. It’s taken me 40 years to get here, but I hope my journey is beneficial to you. We need to come together, especially in the face of those who wish to take us back to a time where women had no rights.
Jax Meyer is an avid lesfic reader and new author. Her debut novel Dal Segno takes you on a journey of healing and love while enjoying the outdoors of Colorado and jazz music. Hopefully the audiobook will be in production this fall.
Find Dal Segno at Amazon.